Sunday, January 29, 2006

Count it All Joy

We never come to a place where we pass out of reach of the compassion of our God. 'His compassions fail not. They are new every morning' -never tiring of us, always strong for our help. (Amy Carmichael - Edges of His Ways)

Lately, I've been very tired of me.

Tired of my weakness, of my failings, of my inconsistency. Tired of feeling like I am doing the Christian Cha-Cha (you step forward, three steps back). Tired of being more grieved over my inability to order my life and walk as I would like than I was by the reality of my sin and what it revealed about my heart.

But God, as He is wont to do, is able to break through when I am content to wallow in self-pity and self-loathing and, yes, self-preservation.

It all started with a, that's not right. It started with a conversation about diets. Around the first of the year, several people in the office decided to try dieting. Most of them were renewing efforts they began earlier the previous year - determined that the fresh start and clean slate of 2006 would provide them with enough impetus to "really do it this time." Since many of them know a little about the past year or so of my life...or at least have noticed that I am a bit smaller than I was before...they talk to me about diets and exercise and self-control.

One thing that comes up in almost every conversation is something about how inconceivable it is that I can have a penchant for baking, and do so often, yet not eat what I make. One particular day, I was talking with one of our engineers who was beginning a plan similar to the one I follow and he said exactly that and asked that I not make his favorite treat anytime soon, because he was certain he would not be able to resist having one... or a dozen of them.

He asked how I could do it...make all of these tasty treats and not just gobble them up along with everyone else. Rather than speaking the truth, I took his compliment as I normally take such things...I shrugged it off like it was no big deal. Immediately the reality of what I'd just done hit me. I tried to back track and insert truth, but it was forced and akward. I could feel the tears begin to well up in my eyes, so I ended the conversation and headed back to my desk.

By the time I was in my chair and safely behind my partition wall, the tears were flowing down my cheeks, under my chin and beginning to puddle in my bra. I tried to choke them back so I could make it to the ladies room and freshen up, but it was no use. So I had to walk through the office, head bowed and drippy, hoping no one would notice.

What brought on the tears and kept ringng in my head was "Would you rob God?"

I knew full well that the Lord has not done what He has done in me or built the relationships He has at work just for me. He has a purpose and that purpose is His Glory. In the moment that I shrugged off my co-workers comment...which, though it was not his intention, was pointing out the power and glory of God...I robbed God of what was due Him. I denied Him praise. And I denied an unbeliever the opportunity to hear truth.

Since that incident, I have been in a near constant state of emotion and almost hyper-sensitive to my weaknesses, failings and inconsistencies.

It hasn't been fun.

Up until this weekend, the only result of such emotion and hyper-sensitivity has been tears and a strong feeling that I was undoing all the Lord has done over the past year and a half.

Then came the song.

I was driving to pick-up my youngest niece at daycare, listening to a new cd. A sort of "up" song came on - which left me completely unprepared for how the words would pierce my heart and reduce me (yet again) to a big puddle behind my steering wheel.

Lord I’ll count it all joy
When the weight of sorrow
Drives me to my knees
Every heartache and pain
In Your mighty hands
Is forming Christ in me
And I know that Your Word is true
Yes, I know every trial
Will only prove...

You have always been my Rock
I will trust You forever, forever
You have never failed me God
I will trust You forever, forever

(Count It All Joy - Steve & Vicki Cook, Sovereign Grace Music)

" Every heartache and pain - In Your mighty hands - Is forming Christ in me
And I know that Your Word is true
Yes, I know every trial Will only prove...

You have always been my Rock - I will trust You forever, forever"

When I heard this particular portion of the song, it reminded me of something I felt the Lord speak to me that morning as I was ironing my clothes for work, which was essentially that the Lord was allowing these weaknesses and failings and inconsistencies to come to the surface for a reason. This is not a step backward, it is a purging and refining necessary to get where I am going. It is part of the process. Though it feels like anything but, it is progress. It is growth.

Though I know there is some big picture that I cannot see yet, what I can see is that all the Lord is speaking and showing and teaching me right now I can only receive while flat on my face.

And while I am still lying there, fretting over the thing that tripped me up (again), the Lord is there, full of compassion and fresh mercy, never tiring of me. In light of that, I can only say:

Yes, I know every trial
Will only prove...
You have always been my Rock
I will trust You forever...forever
You have never failed me God
I will trust You forever...forever


  1. I would like to say that I totally heard your heart. And it seems that we struggle with the same thing. But I want to encourage you that there is no mountain, in your life, that God hasn't already won for you. And I know it is easier said than to believe, but that is how I honestly can say that is where I am now. No matter how many times I " fail " God doesn't keep score. He knows you and he know when you are doing your best, and that is all that matters.

    For myself it is surrendering my will according to his. Because until I have surrender God can not move in my life, no matter how hard I try on my own.

    I hope this blesses you! I will pray for you!

  2. Thanks "living by faith" (I don't know that I will ever get used to talking to people using their blogger pseudonyms. It's just so strange to me. Anyway...thank you for your encouragement.

    Aside from "Count it all joy" the song that has also been going through my head and heart is "You don't have to move that mountain". It goes:
    You don't have to move that mountain
    Just help me, Lord, to climb it
    You don't have to move that stumblin' block
    Just show me the way around it.

    Funny that you also mentioned mountains in your comment.

    Anyway, that truly has been my prayer, "Lord, I'm not asking you to take the temptation away, or even to make it less...just give me the grace and strength to obey."

    And it really is all about surrender...surrendering all we want, all we like, all we have, all we think, and all we think we can or cannot do to Christ and trusting that He will give us what we need to conform all we are to all He promises we can be in Him.

  3. Yes I totally understand. Strangers really, hiding behind just names. So I would like to introduce myself, my name is Ranya. I am a woman walking with God. I wanted you to know that I was totally encouraged and blessed by what you had to said.
    So thanks, blessings!